New California law requires later start times for middle schools, high schools

Posted at 8:35 AM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 14:43:58-04

(KGTV) -- Students across California will soon be able to sleep in a bit longer thanks to a new law requiring later start times at schools.

Gov. Gavin Newsom Sunday signed Senate Bill 328, a law that prevents public middle schools from starting before 8 a.m. and public high schools from starting the day before 8:30 a.m.

The new law will take effect in 2022.

A similar bill was vetoed in 2018 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, but state legislators tried again this year, citing additional research that showed teens are healthier mentally and physically, and perform better in the classroom when school starts later and they are able to get 8-10 hours of sleep.

RELATED: Parents raise concerns over SDUSD late start times

State Sen. Anthony Portantino, who authored SB 328, said Newsom's signature "put our children's health and welfare ahead of institutional bureaucracy resistant to change."

"Shifting to a later start time will improve academic performance and save lives because it helps our children be healthier," Portantino said.

A legislative analysis of the bill Newsom signed into law noted studies about the impacts of school start times over the past 15 years have had "wide variation in conclusions."

RELATED: 3 San Diego schools switch to later start times

A co-author of this bill, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, sent this statement: “Whether it’s housing requirements or educational standards, the state often steps in when it’s clear local governments continue to pass the buck on common sense requirements. The evidence is clear, a later start time is good for students and the state is simply saying let’s put students’ needs first.”

Opponents of the bill said the later start times place a burden on parents to change work schedules, affect busing, and impact after-school activities.

Rural districts are exempt from compliance. "Zero periods" or other extracurricular activities are not affected by the legislation.

Associated Press reporter Adam Beam contributed to this report